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The Flash has featured much less of a certain character in Season 5. Joe West has been off-screen for the majority of the season so far, and he hasn't even appeared in new footage since way back in the fourth episode. The reason for his absence was actor Jesse L. Martin's back injury that he sustained over the summer hiatus, and he's been out on medical leave. Now, it has been announced when in Season 5 he'll be back: Episode 15.
Jesse L. Martin is back and filming for the fifteenth episode on the Flash set, according to TVLine. No official airdate has been announced for his big comeback episode, but the midseason premiere (which debuts on Tuesday, January 15) will be Episode 10. Assuming there are no more big breaks before Episode 15, we can probably expect it to air by the end of February. That's not too much longer to wait, all things considered. At least we'll have the show back!
Fortunately for fans, The Flash didn't put Joe in a coma or stick him in the Speed Force or have him kidnapped to explain Jesse L. Martin's absence. Joe has just been off-screen all this time, so there shouldn't be a ton of melodrama in his return. That said, showrunner Todd Helbing did tease some developments on the Joe front before he's actually back, saying this:
There's an explanation, and then there's another sort of thing down the line that will give more explanation as to why [Joe] was gone for so long... I'll just say there's some technology that S.T.A.R. Labs has [via which] he's gone and he's not gone at the same time.
Based on Todd Helbing's comments, it sounds like The Flash has more in store than just saying that Joe has been hanging out with the baby 24/7 to explain Jesse L. Martin's absence. That's not to say that he hasn't been busy with his infant daughter; somebody has to be taking care of her while Cecile helps Team Flash figure out how to take down Cicada.
As for the technology aspect of Todd Helbing's tease, I have to wonder if we'll see the Flash version of FaceTime for Joe to appear without Jesse L. Martin needing to be running around. Perhaps he was able to film some stationary footage while still resting his back. That does seem a bit too straightforward for The Flash, however. We might want to expect the unexpected when it comes to Joe West's return.
Joe West fans aren't the only ones excited to have Jesse L. Martin returning. Danielle Nicolet, who plays Cecile, shared a fun video of the West family back together on Instagram:
The Flash will be the first of the four Arrow-verse shows to return in 2019, following last fall's insane multi-show crossover that revealed a huge comics-based arc already in the works for a crossover next season. The midseason premiere of The Flash airs Tuesday, January 15 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. If you love Nora, you may want to prepare yourself for a rough episode. For the premiere dates of Supergirl and Arrow, among many other shows, check out our midseason TV premiere guide.